Mechanical solids control is the most cost-effective method to control drilled solids. Proper solids control requires:
- Proper planning before the well begins;
- Proper selection, installation, and operation of available equipment;
- Routine monitoring of fluid properties to optimize performance;
- Sequential Treatment – It follows from previous recommendations that the solids control equipment should be arranged so that each piece of equipment removes successively finer solids.
- Compartment Mixing – To provide a uniform solids load to the equipment each compartment, except the sand trap, should be well stirred. If mud guns are used they should be arranged so that no flow bypasses the solids control equipment. Agitators are preferable.
- Arrangement – Each piece of solids control equipment must be arranged so that the suction is taken from a compartment upstream of the discharge compartment, i.e., there must be a wall or division with an equalizer opening between the suction and discharge, even if it is boards placed in the tank temporarily.
- Upstream Flow Through Equalizer – If the flow into the suction compartment is greater than the rate of flow processed by the equipment, then mud is flowing downstream through the equalizer. In other words, the flow through compartment equalizers should always be from the discharge to the suction. If it is not then mud is bypassing the equipment.
- Dedicated Feed Pumps – Manifolding pumps and equipment so that multiple configurations are available
depending on valve positions is always a mistake. There should be only one button to push to begin the pump and the discharge valve opened slowly to begin operation of the solids control unit.
- Use a separate centrifugal pump for each hydrocyclone device (do not use the same pump for more than one piece of equipment).
Equipment selection is decided by site-specific requirements. Proper system selection is the first step to effective solids control.